Thirty people and dogs gathered in the state of Maine’s capitol city yesterday for our tenth in a series of statewide coalition protests against funding the war in Ukraine. As has become the norm for these protests, thousands of passing motorists saw our messages and reacted with thumbs up, honks, and waves. We stand at Maine’s busiest intersections to reach as many eyeballs as possible. Next month we’ll stand in Ellsworth (Aug 19), gateway to posh coastal enclaves like Bar Harbor. And in September we’ll be in Unity (Sep 23) to greet the traffic jam occasioned by the hugely popular Common Ground Fair.
A couple of loud men shouted at us about their love for cluster bombs, but many of us held signs objecting to this particular weapon because 1) they mostly kill civilians and children, often for years afterwards and 2) the U.S. public has had a particularly negative reaction to sending Ukraine cluster bombs. And, a few motorists waiting for the light to change asked, What’s a cluster bomb? So we’re always out there educating in the absence of media who long since chose propaganda over helping people know what’s really going on.
Another great feature is seeing old friends who we’ve stood for peace with in the past. Nancy Blaisdell Baxter said in our closing circle that she was there remembering her late mother, Florence (a high school classmate of my father’s), who I stood with in Skowhegan against the Iraq war 20 years ago.
One of the best aspects of our protest series is gathering for lunch afterwards. This is where we find new people to connect with or catch up with old friends. Yesterday’s topics of conversation ranged from co-sponsor Party for Socialism & Liberation members crashing the governor’s opioid summit to call for effective action on the overdose crisis in our state; local environmental movements; the ongoing housing catastrophe; and the politics of inclusion via the prompt, “What book have you read lately that changed or challenged your thinking?” (Good one, MB.)